The Pittsburgh Steelers finally lost their first game of the season against the Washington Football Team at home in December. The Steelers don’t drop too many December home games, but more drops and missed opportunities move the Steelers’ record to 11-1. Here are the players whose stock are on the move following week 13 action:
CB Mike Hilton – Stock Up
Mike Hilton was easily the defensive MVP for this game against the Washington Football Team. After a slow return from injury, he burst back onto the scene in a big way. He had one highly athletic pass break up that could have been an interception, and had 6 total tackles. He was fighting through blockers double his size and made a tackle or two in the flat that showcased his quick diagnosis of the play and decisive action to stop the play for no gain.
Mike Hilton is going to get paid this offseason, but unfortunately it will not be by the Steelers. There is a very good chance he will net the team a compensatory pick in the process.
WR Diontae Johnson – Stock Down
Regardless of how good a route runner and how good Diontae Johnson can be, he is not playing well right now. He now leads the league in drops with a whopping six in the last two weeks alone. When his main trait is as a possession receiver, the main priority is catching the ball and he has failed to do that two weeks in a row. In his sophomore season this is beginning to become a large concern. Its not so easy to just assume he will grow out of it anymore.
Mike Tomlin was asked how to fix the drops and said, “They can catch the ball or be replaced by those who will catch it”.
ILB Avery Williamson – Stock Up
Avery Williamson has been seeing his snap share increase over the course of the last couple games since being traded for. After Robert Spillane went down injured, Marcus Allen actually ended up absorbing a lot of those snaps, but that may have been because after Antonio Gibson went down injured the Washington Football Team relied mostly on the passing game and the Steelers responded with their dime defense. Still, Williamson will be relied on in base defense with Spillane expected to miss some time.
OG Matt Feiler – Stock Down
Matt Feiler did not allow a sack, but he nearly did on several occasions throughout the game. He kept getting beat badly by Jon Allen’s cross chop move and was driven back into Ben Roethlisberger’s lap frequently. The offensive line as a whole has not played well in recent weeks. Despite allowing no sacks as a unit, the pressure has been there and the run blocking has been a total unit failure throughout most of the season.
WR James Washington – Stock Up
James Washington has made plays when called upon all season, and even more so the last few weeks. The question has always been, who should be taken off the field in order for him to get more snaps? Given the recent drop issues and Mike Tomlin’s threat to remove players who can’t catch the ball, this bodes well for James Washington who would presumably be the receiver to benefit the most from any kind of shake-up.
He pitched in the Steelers’ only big offensive play of the game against the Washington Football Team with a 50 yard touchdown breaking a tackle or two in the process. That makes two straight weeks with impact plays for Washington and he should be rewarded with more opportunities.
TE Eric Ebron – Stock Down
One of the big criticisms of Eric Ebron when he was signed in Free Agency was his struggles with drops throughout his career. Through the majority of the season, this wasn’t an issue for him at all, as his catch rate was amongst the highest on the team. This took a sharp turn for the worse over the last two weeks as he dropped four total balls in the two contests. The whole offense was having this issue, but Ebron could see reduced opportunity and certainly reduced trust from Ben Roethlisberger as a result.